I’ve been writing for my local paper, the Placentia News-Times, since March 2005 and I’m loving every minute of it. Thanks to my bosses, Jim Radcliffe and Heather McRea, I get to entertain my fellow Placentians every week with the exploits of a typical semi-professional juggler of home, work, and life (and maybe a 1000-lb horse). In other words, it’s all about me.
First of all, contrary to my brother’s opinion, it is not “Afterbirth, California.” Rumor has it that it is a Spanish word meaning “pleasant place.” People of Hispanic heritage pronounce it in a very lilting, seductive way. We Gringos just say, “Pluh-SEN-cha.”
That being said, Placentia is one of those little cities in the big Orange County that is just to the south of Los Angeles. If you’ve ever driven down one of our freeways, such as the I-5, it would appear there are no small towns in southern California, only one big, sprawling megalopolis. It is true, there is no break in the sidewalk that ends at Whittier and begins again in Norwalk.
And yet, if you live in one of these little burgs for awhile, you begin to notie what is unique about it. It’s slightly amaing to me that, amid all the corporate sameness of Starbucks and Home Depot and Old Navy stores that line every off-ramp, I can still pick Placentia out of a lineup. I recognize its coziness, its quiet, its Hispanic flavor. I’ve called it home for over 20 years and don’t see any reason to move. Of course when non-Californians ask me where I’m from, they dont’ recognize my answer of “Placentia.” So most of the time I add, “near Disneyland.”
It’s true enough.
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